Sue is a life/business coach and coach trainer who loves working from home in her pajamas! She has a Master’s in Educational Psychology from Temple University. She is the mom of two grown kids and has three beautiful grandchildren as well as a dog named Chloe and a parrot named Peanut. Sue loves to read, write, garden, cook and play with new computer skills, and just loves learning in general. She would love to have the passion for exercise, meditation and the physically active life that she’s heard cohousing members talk about rub off on her. She has an abiding interest in living simply, repurposing used stuff, appreciating and sometimes making art from cast-off objects and living in community. Sue is a life-long opera buff and loves to sing in the shower. And she is really looking forward to helping the Mt. Airy cohousing community come to fruition!
Gloria was born in Brooklyn, NY. She grew up in apartment buildings where seeing greenery meant biking to Prospect Park, or going to what was then the small, lovely campus of Brooklyn College. All the benefits of NYC were just a subway or bike ride away. She married, had three children and bought a house for the first time. At that time, growing plants outdoors was a new, exciting experience. She spent several years teaching in private schools and for the NYC Board of Education. She then changed careers to become a contracting officer for the U.S. government and moved to suburban New Jersey. This was a lifestyle where shopping, friendship and activities were always a car or train ride away. Now that her three children are grown and she is retired and widowed, she loves the lifestyle in Mount Airy. Gardens are everywhere! Friends, synagogue services and shopping are within walking distance or a very short car ride away, and she is involved in all the causes and takes all the classes she missed out on before. When she first learned about cohousing, she immediately knew that this was her next step—a perfect blend of privacy and community, and a way to live as sustainably as possible in the heart of Mount Airy.
Bob grew up in suburban Philadelphia, but has made the city his home since graduating from college in 1983. Bob, an architect, is a serial home renovation enthusiast who has renovated four homes in various local neighborhoods. His growing interest in gardening led him to move from densely urban South Philadelphia to verdantly landscaped Mount Airy. Though Bob is enjoying landscaping his Mount Airy property, the six-bedroom house is too large for his needs. He is looking forward to downsizing to a smaller home at Wissahickon Village Cohousing and joining the gardening crew there. Bob is the founder and principal of Robert B Bernstein, Architect, LLC. His architectural practice focuses on residential and small projects. He received a Bachelor of Architecture from Carnegie-Mellon University and worked with several local firms before opening his own practice. Bob believes in life-long learning and is presently training in sustainable design. Bob is "food guy" to three dogs, Rizzo, Gulliver, and Anthony. Rizzo, an eleven-year-old Cairn Terrier, still brings puppy-like enthusiasm to life; she is an attention freak who loves meeting new people. Anthony and Gulliver, eight-year-old French Bulldogs, are new additions to Bob's wolf pack. Gulliver is trying to train Bob to feed him more often, walk slower, and get up earlier. Anthony, the more zen-like of the two brothers, is happy to embrace life in the moment.
Vanessa was born in Harlem, New York and grew up in the Bronx. Her family moved five times during her growing up years which made it hard to feel like she had a stable community of neighbors. She fondly recalls one neighborhood where she lived sometime between diapers and first grade -- Hinwood Place. Her home was on a cul de sac, so the only cars on the block belonged to the neighbors. She remembers playing in the streets and hearing parents call the kids upstairs for meals as it got dark. Vanessa's been looking for a Hinwood place ever since and is hoping to get at least some of what she’s looking for from WVC. She’s mastered independence and is now finding ways and people with whom to build an interdependent existence. She travels quite a bit for work so also looks forward to coming home to neighbors who might actually notice when she’s not around. Her past housing experiences have included a shared housing stint in West Philly, a Cooperative apartment complex, and traditional apartment living. Vanessa has been working for progressive social justice and change since her early 20s. She started her career working for legal service agencies including children's advocacy, a battered women's legal aid program, and a program representing people with AIDS and HIV facing discrimination. She’s also served on several boards including the Rainbow Endowment, one of the original branded credit card models that funded national GLBT groups. The board she enjoys most right now is the Starr King School for the Ministry, a Unitarian Universalist seminary in Berkeley, CA. Vanessa has an MBA from the Wharton School and works for one of the financial regulators focusing on access to capital for underserved communities. She serves on the WVC finance and legal committee.
Elayne and Itzik, both aged 65, have been married for 33 years. Itzik was born in Hungary, grew up on a Kibbutz, served in the Israeli Air Force (during and after the Six Day War), and then moved to the U.S. at age 22. Elayne, born and raised in Philadelphia, served in VISTA on an Indian reservation, worked for a summer in Israel, and lived in NYC for seven years. She met Itzik on a blind date in Berkeley, CA, and they settled in Mount Airy. Itzik worked at Western Union while Elayne supervised group homes for people with disabilities. Two daughters followed. Elayne went to work for the City as a liaison for Case Management and Family Support. Itzik got the “ best job in the City,” providing sound for special events: concerts, press conferences, and sometimes City Council! Two more kids arrived as teenagers through foster care. Dancing, music, family events, book clubs, trips and meetings keep them busy now. Cohousing has been in Elayne and Itzik’s lives for a long time. Their experience with kibbutz life, the wonderful family groups they have been part of and working formally on cohousing have convinced them that not every person needs his own lawn mower. They look forward to selling their big house, becoming grandparents, and stoop-sitting with new neighborhood friends.
While Karey's hometowns include Seattle, Chicago, and Silver Spring, Maryland, she was born in Eugene, Oregon, which explains how much of a feminist hippie she is. She is beginning her third and final career by studying to become a nurse. Karey's interests include singing, gardening, cooking, contra dancing, samba drumming and dancing, playing board games, reading novels, bike riding, and visiting Brazil some more, and in the meantime she adores mothering her daughter, Ronia. Ronia's interests include Elsa (but not so much Anna) and Disney princesses in general, saving the Monarch butterfly, rock-climbing, dancing, and bike-riding. She is an avid reader and artist, and appreciates being taken seriously. Karey and Ronia look forward to living in closer community with YOU and YOU and YOU!
My name is Meryl. I am a native Philadelphian who loves living here. I raised my two grown children to give back to community and make a positive difference in the world. My younger daughter introduced me to the idea of co-housing. As I started seriously thinking about my retirement, I knew I wanted to return to living in Mt. Airy. WVC was a perfect match. Currently I divide my time between work as a Geriatric Chaplain, helping my own elderly parents and working for social justice and global sustainability with a variety of other organizations. I am an avid cyclist and love listening to world music.
Janet Boys’ introduction to cohousing began when she was born the youngest of four girls. With the last name of Boys, they were known as the “Boys’ Girls.” When she was 16 and in a household of only parents and herself, she realized that there was not enough noise or people around. So the summer after she graduated from high school, she went to Kansas State University and lived in a dorm for three school years and one summer. Another summer she spent living in a shared apartment with three other people. Since then, Janet’s only experience similar to cohousing has come from creating a family with her second husband Don and his son, Jeff. Janet likes the idea of cohousing because of the community. She currently knows a lot of her neighbors, but might not have a real conversation with them for anywhere from a month to years! She would like herself and her neighbors to be more up-to-date on major happenings in each other’s lives. Born and raised in Maryland in a Kansas culture, she has lived in Chevy Chase, MD; Manhattan, KS; Enid, OK; Topeka, KS; Wheaton, MD; Bethesda, MD; and Wellington, NZ. Philadelphia, however, has been her home for 19 years. While she majored in foods and nutrition in college, her “career” jobs were all in the IT area. She received an MBA at Temple in 2007. Now retired, she is pursuing interests in: cohousing, making a marimba, downsizing to get ready for cohousing, singing, reading, walking, knitting, weaving and supporting efforts for local living economies and democracies. Her son, Jeff, lives with his Italian wife, daughter and son in Germany. Visiting them is another cohousing-like experience.
Don is a retired science teacher (chemistry, environmental science, geology) and general know-it-all, and has been involved in various aspects of environmental work and education his whole life. He started collecting rocks at age eight, majored in geology, worked in oceanographic and environmental data and research and then in science education. Don was born in Seattle and grew up in Davis, CA and Honolulu. He has lived in Middletown, CT, the Washington, DC area (three different times), Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, Wellington, NZ and locally in Mount Airy for the last 19 years. In 1976, he bought a Japanese shaved ice machine (hand cranked), and has set it up on the front porch to invite all his neighbors over for snow cones several times each summer ever since. It is a great way to gather kids of all ages together and get to know each other better, as well as share one of the most wonderful aspects of his own childhood in Hawaii Don’s interests include Aikido, singing, folk dancing, jewelry design, cord braiding and beads. He still collects rocks, fossils and minerals as well as rock carvings.
Barbara is newly retired from a 25 year career as the executive director of a non-profit agency in Sussex County, NJ. She was able to lead a staff of 32 dedicated professionals as they worked together to decrease the negative effects of addiction and poverty on individuals, families and communities. Under her leadership, the agency grew into a multi-million dollar enterprise with more than 20 prevention programs and a licensed treatment facility. Barbara thrives on the group process and is dedicated to building community, social justice and working toward the greater good, which is why cohousing is so appealing to her. Having been a vegetarian since 1971, Barbara loves to cook. Her vegetarian meals surprise even the most dedicated meat-eaters in their deliciousness and ability to satisfy. Other passions include hiking, contra dancing and barbershop-style singing with an all-female chorus in NJ. Barbara is excited to be relocating to Mt. Airy not only for the cohousing community, but also to join her daughter, Aviva, who lives in the neighborhood with her fiancée, Lisa. Barbara has one incredible granddaughter, Lilli, who is almost three and lives with her daddy and mommy, Jesse and Becca, in New York City. She looks forward to the public transportation options that will make her weekly trips to Lilli more relaxing and earth-friendly than always having to drive. As Barbara moves forward with this next and very exciting chapter in her life, she does so with gratitude, enthusiasm and just a little trepidation. She recognizes that all that is sure to unfold will be a mix of both the expected and the unexpected, as that is how life goes. Barbara’s positive attitude and desire to live serendipitously are among the qualities that will help her to embrace and thrive in her new life in Mt. Airy!